What is Varo?

Varo Money is a San Francisco based FinTech who’s mission is to bring a better banking experience to mobile only customers, and provide their users tools and features to get out of the bank fee cycle and build their wealth.

The Problem

The app design felt dated causing a lack of trust with customers. The previous design system had been developed for beta launch three years earlier, and did not fit with the expectation that customers had for banking apps leading to a drop off in user engagement in the registration process. The app design needed a visual refresh to appeal to their millennial user base and better align with iOS11 guidelines.

The challenge was to give the app a visual update within a limited number of engineering hours. The solutions had to be global, yet be a light lift for the engineering team to implement, freeing up their hours to roll out new features in a rapidly developing company.


As one of two in-house designers we undertook an audit of the product end to end. We identified pain points for the users, conducted usability test and spoke with current customers.  I worked with stakeholders and the engineering team to identify light-weight lifts that would solve pain points for users and implement an updated visual system for the app focusing on consistency and polish. The scalable design system included an updated the color pallet, typeface, component and illustration styling and included merchant logos in our transaction views.


Implementing the new design system across the product gave the app an updated feel and improved user experience. By addressing contrast, type hierarchy and typeface legibility our users were better able to navigate their banking information.



The addition of bank and merchant logos across the app gave transaction screens and account set made the content easier for the user to scan content.


The illustration style shifted to a flat design with a new color palette, bringing texture and color to the pages.



User testing confirmed that the redesign had boosted consumer trust and improved user experience. Participants reported less fatigue, demonstrated a greater understanding of what they needed to do and why, and felt the appearance of the app conveyed trustworthiness and credibility.

A few weeks after the new registration flow’s launch, we noticed a significant increase in the number of users completing the registration process for a Varo bank account.

7 months after the release, Varo received 5/5 stars in a report published by Celent, a consulting firm focused on financial services technology, on comparing mobile bank account registration at various US banks.